Hasbro recently announced that it is phasing out plastic in new product packaging, including elements such as polybags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, window sheets and blister packs. While the main plastic components of most tabletop game are often lovingly reused for many years. the single use plastic packaging represent an opportunity to reduce waste. Here are five plastic alternatives that game creators can consider.
1. Cloth or fabric bags
We all remember the pleasing rattle of scrabble tiles inside the cloth draw string bags. Nowadays, plastic bags are the most common packaging component for separating game pieces. Cloth drawstring fabric bags can be a eco-friendly alternative, for not much additional cost. Smaller indie game creators can buy them in bulk from sites like Ali Express for a few cents each.
2. Corn based bio plastics
Manufactured from corn production waste, this bioplastic is durable. While most consumers are getting used to corn plastics for bottles and food containers, they can apply to a variety of other contexts, such as board game inserts and organizers.
3. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) shrink bundling
LDPE film is a slightly better alternative to shrink wrap plastic film. Shrink wrap is the most common way to seal a game for retail distribution. LDPE film is said to create less greenhouse gases than shrink wrap in manufacturing and can be collected and recycled to create new end-products.
4. NatureFlex – cellophane alternative
Made from certified biodegradable wood pulp, NatureFlex is the little brother of cellophane. We haven’t yet seen this in board gaming (tell us if you have!), but Teapigs, a UK tea company recently announced that they have made a switch from using used a polypropylene plastic bag to the compostable wood-pulp originated Natureflex.
5. Cardboard and Wood
Tree based components such as paper and wood are often within the most easy reach for smaller game creators as an alternative to plastic. The plastic most commonly used for components like player token, meeples, dice, coins etc is acrylic. Acrylic plastic is not recycled easily. Among recycled plastics, it is considered as a Group 7 plastic and mostly not collected for recycling. While wood and cardboard has some downsides such as being prone to spills resulting in wooden pieces staining or cardboard pieces getting soggy or falling apart, ultimately they will return back to mother Earth, unlike plastic.